Professor Anderson H.C. Shum of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and his team worked on the research for the topic “Pixelating Responsive Structural Color via a Bioinspired Morphable Concavity Array (MoCA) Composed of 2D Photonic Crystal Elastomer Actuators”. The research findings were recently published in Advanced Science on April 14, 2023.
Details of the publication:
Pixelating Responsive Structural Color via a Bioinspired Morphable Concavity Array (MoCA) Composed of 2D Photonic Crystal Elastomer Actuators
Yi Pan, Chang Li, Xiaoyu Hou, Zhenyu Yang, Mingzhu Li, Ho Cheung Shum, Article in Advanced Science,
Stimuli-responsive structural coloration allows the color change of soft substrates in response to environmental stimuli such as heat, humidity, and solvents. Such color-changing systems enable smart soft devices, such as the camouflageable skin of soft robots or chromatic sensors in wearable devices. However, individually and independently programmable stimuli-responsive color pixels remain significant challenges among the existing color-changing soft materials and devices, which are crucial for dynamic display. Inspired by the dual-color concavities on butterfly wings, a morphable concavity array to pixelate the structural color of two-dimensional photonic crystal elastomer and achieve individually and independently addressable stimuli-responsive color pixels is designed. The morphable concavity can convert its surface between concave and flat upon changes in the solvent and temperature, accompanied by angle-dependent color-shifting. Through multichannel microfluidics, the color of each concavity can be controllably switched. Based on the system, the dynamic display by forming reversibly editable letters and patterns for anti-counterfeiting and encryption are demonstrated. It is believed that the strategy of pixelating optical properties through locally altering surface topography can inspire the design of new transformable optical devices, such as artificial compound eyes or crystalline lenses for biomimetic and robotic applications.